'Let down your hair' at South Shields' Customs House as Rapunzel panto returns to the stage

The Customs House Christmas pantomime has returned after more than a year following the pandemic – and it did not disappoint.

A production shot from Rapunzel.
A production shot from Rapunzel.

The classic fairy tale Rapunzel had children (and adults) laughing and shouting as the Christmas pantomime returned to the stage at the Customs House in South Shields.

After more than a year of lockdowns, the theatre hosted it’s annual panto for the first time in more than 12 months following the pandemic – and how we’ve missed it, oh yes we have.

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Directed by Customs House boss Ray Spencer, the show wasn’t short of jokes and gags with visitors in stitches during every scene.

A production shot from Rapunzel.

The audience was firstly greeted with an ‘Eeeeeeh welcome back’ from Dame Bella, played by Ray Spencer, and huge smiles of the cast lit up the theatre as the cast looked extremely pleased to be finally back on stage.

The story of Rapunzel, played by Beth Clarke, sees the young princess hidden away in a tall tower by evil Gothel as she waits to be rescued by her handsome prince.

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Wicked Gothel, who was booed by many of the children in the audience, was cast perfectly to Eleanor Chaganis as she sauntered across the stage reeking havoc for poor Rapunzel.

Witty Rumpelstiltskin (William Wyn Davies), added a ‘cheeky’ value to the performance that was loved by many members of the audience.

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A production shot from Rapunzel.

But Dame Bella and her accomplice Arbuthnot, played by Davey Hopper were firm favourites with theatre-goers as their hilarious antics even had cast members laughing.

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Beautiful Rapunzel was finally united with her Prince, performed by the charming Steven Hamilton and I have to say the Christmas spirits were definitely raised by the end of the show.

:: Rapunzel runs until January, 8 2022.